Kylian Mbappe urges youth to vote against ‘extremes’ in French elections

Emmanuel Macron called a snap election after heavy defeats to the far-right National Rally in last week’s European Union vote, with Marine Le Pen’s party leading opinion polls ahead of the vote

Jamie Braidwood
Monday 17 June 2024 10:46 BST
'I want to be still proud of wearing France shirt' - Mbappé on team taking a stance on next national elections

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


France captain Kylian Mbappe urged “the youth to make a difference” in the country’s upcoming election and in the face of “extremes knocking on the door of power” as Les Bleus’ Euro 2024 opener against Austria came amid a tumultuous political moment back home.

Mbappe addressed the French people during a pre-match press conference following Emmanuel Macron’s shock announcement to call a snap parliamentary election. Macron suffered heavy defeats by Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (NR) party in last week’s European Union vote.

With opinion polls suggesting the far-right NR party could top the 30 June and 7 July vote, Mbappe, 25, backed forward Marcus Thuram’s call to “fight daily” to prevent the RN from gaining power. Uefa has rules against teams or players making political statement, but Mbappe did not rule that out.

“I share Thuram’s opinion. I share the same opinion when I spoke about diversity, tolerance and respect,” Mbappe said. “The game is very important. I think that I am well placed to say and I’ve said it until I’m blue in the face, but there is a situation that is even more important than the game.

“Kylian Mbappé is against extreme views and against ideas that divide people. I want to be proud to represent France, I don’t want to represent a country that doesn’t correspond to my values, or our values.

“This is a never-seen-before event. And that is why I want to talk to the whole of the French people, but also the youth. We are a generation that can make a difference. We see the extremes are knocking on the door of power and we have the opportunity to shape our country’s future.

“Everyone cares. Everyone understands the situation in France. There are some people who feel more comfortable saying something and speaking out, We want to protect all of our players and obviously protect the French team. But we have thought about this and I think we will be doing something. So keep your eyes peeled.

“People say don’t mix football and politics but here we are talking about a situation that’s really important, more important than the game. The situation in our country is dire and we need to act.”

The French football federation on Saturday called for the team’s neutrality to be respected and for Les Bleus not to be politicised, but Mbappe was comfortable speaking out about his fears of the National Rally party gaining power.

France coach Didier Deschamps said his players had the right to express their political views. “It’s their free will,” he said. “We must recognise they are great players but also French citizens and they are not immune or indifferent to the situation in the country.”

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